• Mass killersMost mass killers are men who have also attacked family

    By Lisa Aronson Fontes

    What do most mass killers have in common? As a researcher who studies coercive control in intimate relationships, I can point out a few key characteristics. First, they are men. Additionally, they have a history of controlling and abusing their wives and girlfriends – and sometimes other family members – before “graduating” to mass killings. The laws in the U.S. that are currently used to address domestic violence were developed for attacks by unrelated people. They don’t work so well for what happens in families. If police wait for broken bones, they miss more than 95 percent of domestic violence incidents. The seriousness of partner violence derives from the cumulative weight of all previous abuse, rather than the severity of a particular assault – and to capture that cumulative weight of partner abuse we need to define coercive control as a crime. An average of 50 women in the U.S. are shot to death each month by a current or former intimate partner. While most domestic abusers will not become mass murderers, early, consistent and effective domestic violence intervention might keep us all safer.

  • GunsPermissive concealed-carry laws tied to higher homicide rates

    Easier access to concealed firearms is associated with significantly higher rates of handgun-related homicide, according to a new study. The study suggests that current trends towards more permissive concealed-carry laws are inconsistent with the promotion of public safety. “Some have argued that the more armed citizens there are, the lower the firearm homicide rate will be, because the feared or actual presence of armed citizens may deter violent crime,” said one of the authors. “Our study findings suggest that this is not the case.”

  • Texas shootingAt least 26 dead after worst mass shooting in Texas history at San Antonio-area church

    By Neena Satija, Jolie McCullough, and Abby Livingston

    A lone gunman killed at least 26 people and injured many more at a church in Sutherland Springs. The tiny town was left reeling from the deadliest shooting at a place of worship in American history. The victims ranged in age from 5 to 72. The gunman has since been identified as 26-year old Devin Patrick Kelley. Kelley served in the Air Force and was court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his spouse and their child. He received a bad conduct discharge, 12 months’ confinement, and a reduction in rank.

  • GunsIs gun violence contagious? The answer is mostly “no”

    Is gun violence contagious? According to new research, the answer is mostly no. Rather, this violence is a chronic issue for particular neighborhoods and requires place-specific solutions. “It’s been known for some time that gun violence, like many other forms of crime and other social problems, can be clustered within certain neighborhoods,” says one researcher. “So when we observe that a particular part of the city has an elevated risk, how do we understand what that phenomenon actually is?”

  • GunsSeverity of firearm injuries increased over the past 20 years

    New research presented today at American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2017 Annual Meeting and Expo revealed that the severity of firearm injuries has increased over the past twenty years, among those hospitalized for their injuries. Researchers noted that their findings have broad implications for public health beyond increased suffering on the individual level.

  • Public safetyProtecting major sport venues

    Three major sporting leagues — the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Basketball League (NBA) — have played a key role in significantly upgrading and strengthening security at stadiums and arenas throughout the country with the help of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s SAFETY Act. The Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act incentivizes private sector investment in protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure and the public by providing liability risk mitigation and litigation tools for claims that stem from or relate to an act of terrorism where a SAFETY Act covered technology (called a qualified anti-terrorism technology) is used.

  • Considered opinionThe Devil’s puzzle: Defining international and domestic terrorism

    By Bennett Seftel and Fritz Lodge

    It’s becoming a familiar scene. A vehicle becomes a weapon of terror. This time in New York City, where a driver in a rental truck suddenly careened down a bike and pedestrian path on the west side of the city on Tuesday, killing at least eight and injuring more than ten people. New York officials say it was an act of terror, and the incident is likely to reignite the debate on what constitutes domestic and international terrorism and whether it matters. An argument can be made that distinguishing between what constitutes an act of terrorism and what doesn’t still provide significant value.

  • Mass shootingsPolice were told of Adam Lanza’s plan to carry out school mass shooting -- 4 years before he did

    In 2008, four years before Adam Lanza went on a shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the local police were told that he planned to carry out a massacre. The local police at the time, and legal experts since, say it is unclear what officials could have done to stop the attack at the point they were alerted to Lanza violent musings. All firearms in the Lanza home had been legally purchased by Nancy Lanza, whom Lanza shot and killed in her bed the morning of 14 December before going to the school and fatally shooting twenty children and six staff members. In response to a FOIA request, the FBI release a batch of heavily redacted documents – 1,500 pages in all – which also show Lanza’s interest in pedophilia, and his obsession with mass shooting.

  • ExtremismUnprecedented levels of cross-border cooperation among extreme right groups: Report

    New research released the other day by ISD, a counter-extremism NGO, reveals increasing collaboration among extreme far-right groups globally. The report shows how extreme right groups have been opportunistically, and effectively, bridging ideologies and adapting their tone to manipulate legitimate social grievances – immigration, freedom of speech, and terrorism – in order to reach and radicalize mainstream parties and movements.

  • Acoustic gunshot sensorsAcoustic gunshot sensor technology may benefit shooting victims

    A number of U.S. cities have installed acoustic gunshot sensor technology to accurately locate shooting scenes and potential gunshot victims, but the effectiveness of this technology for saving lives had not been studied until now. A new study shows that the technology contributes to quicker hospital arrival times and equal survival rates despite more severe injuries.

  • Hate groupsAre many hate crimes really examples of domestic terrorism?

    By Arie Perliger

    This growing domestic menace deserves more attention than it’s getting. I consider domestic terrorism a more significant threat than the foreign-masterminded variety in part because it is more common in terms of the number of attacks on U.S. soil. The number of violent attacks on U.S. soil inspired by far-right ideology has spiked since the beginning of this century, rising from a yearly average of 70 attacks in the 1990s to a yearly average of more than 300 since 2001. Despite an uptick in far-right violence and the Trump administration’s plan to increase the Department of Homeland Security budget by 6.7 percent to $44.1 billion in 2018, the White House wants to cut spending for programs that fight non-Muslim domestic terrorism. The federal government has also frozen $10 million in grants aimed at countering domestic violent extremism. This approach is bound to weaken the authorities’ power to monitor far-right groups, undercutting public safety.

  • Hate groupsNormalizing white nationalist hate

    A panel of experts met last week at Harvard University’s Kennedy School (HKS) to examine the U.S. white nationalist movement’s rise to prominence and discuss ways to counter it. One panelist was R. Derek Black, a former white nationalist activist whose father, Don Black, created Stormfront, the internet’s first and largest white nationalist site. When the moderator asked whether white nationalists tended to be seen as “people from Alabama,” Black replied that most of the stereotypes are inaccurate. “There’s a strange misconception that it’s a trailer park movement, or that it’s people who haven’t thought through their beliefs. But think about it. Who has the resources to travel across the country for rallies? It’s not a wealthy movement, but it’s bankers, lawyers, people with good jobs.”

  • GunsThree million Americans carry loaded handguns daily

    An estimated three million adult American handgun owners carry a firearm loaded and on their person on a daily basis, and nine million do so on a monthly basis, new research indicates. The vast majority cited protection as their primary reason for carrying a firearm.

  • School shootersBoys involved in school shooting struggle to live up to ideals of masculinity

    Boys involved in school shootings often struggle to live up to what they perceive as their school’s ideals surrounding masculinity. When socially shunned at school, they develop deep-set grudges against their classmates and teachers. The shooters become increasingly angry, depressed, and more violent in their gendered practice. A shooting rampage is their ultimate performance, says a researcher. The researcher suggests schools should address adolescent masculinity issues to help prevent rampage shootings.

  • GunsWhy is there so little research on guns in the U.S.? 5 questions answered

    By Lacey Wallace

    Like other recent mass shootings, the events in Las Vegas were quickly followed by demands for change to gun control policy. But which policy do we choose? Following the Las Vegas shooting, debate has focused on bump stocks, accessories that allow a semiautomatic weapon to fire more rapidly. Will restrictions on them help prevent another mass shooting? Is there a better policy option? Unfortunately, the research we need to answer these questions doesn’t exist – and part of the problem is that the federal government largely doesn’t support it. Without increased funding for gun research, it will be extremely difficult for researchers to provide accurate answers to the gun policy questions currently under debate.